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genial and friendly element for the growth of that true christian liberty, wherewith the Son of God makes men free, than is the atmosphere of a Sect, with which all such reverence and sympathy are wanting, and for which its own brief and narrow tradition is of more weight than the “ubique, semper et ab omnibus," of whole Christendom besides?

Cultivate then, we say again, Faith, Reverence, and Freedom. Remember that to be truly free, you must be superior to yourselves, as well as to the surrounding world; and this you never can be, except as you stand in felt living communion with the spiritual world, and are made to do homage thus to truth and law as something vastly greater and more glorious than your own individual lives. This is the true perfection of your nature. This is your first vocation and mission in the world. This is the magnificent work, more high and glorious than all the labors of Hercules, which you are sent forth upon the arena of life to accomplish, and which the whole creation of God, surrounding you like a mighty amphitheatre on all sides, may be said to require and expect at your hands. Your whole education, in its last sense and purpose, centres here. In vain have you made yourselves familiar with science, or secured the accomplishments of art, if along with all you are not assisted to understand and govern yourselves. Your knowledge and art may serve indeed, without this, to make you important and give you power within certain limits. But, alas, what are all advantages which can be · thus secured, even under the most favorable circumstances, for the man who carries still in his own bosom the spirit of a slave? What are wealth, and station, and credit, and power, in such case, but fetters and chains, by which the soul is only so much the more enslaved to the authority of a strange and tyrant law? On the other hand, let this inward liberty prevail, and its fruit is found to be universal freedom and universal strength. It can make even poverty to be rich, and adversity serenely strong ; while it throws a new worth round every form of prosperity, and spreads a new charm over all that life may have of beauty or glory besides. Such freedom is in truth a victory at the same time over the world. The man who is truly master of himself, not in the way of Stoic apathy and pride, but by inward union with the Divine Law, can never be the slave of men. He is prepared, to the same extent, to brave all tyrannical authority, whether it spring from the many or the few, whether it be exercised by single handed pope or hydra headed mob. Let it be your ambition, and aim and endeavor, to be thus free. God has

not called you, and we have not trained you, to the spirit of bondage and fear.

With these counsels, and the prayer that you may be able to quit yourselves like men in the great battle of life, we now bid you an affectionate and solemn Farewell.

THE

MERCERSBURG REVIEW.

MARCH, 1850.

VOL. II.--NO. II.

WHAT IS CHURCH HISTORY? A vindication of the idea of Historical Development. By

Pøilip SCHAF. Translated from the German. Philadelphia : J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1846. 12 mo. pp. 128.

The subject discussed in this work is full of interest. However widely the views of individuals in regard to History may theoretically differ, its importance is practically admitted by all. It portrays man in all his struggles to solve the questions involved within his own being, and to reach the end of his creation; and contains and truly exhibits the results to which, in the different sages of this process, he has arrived. “ It is, and must ever continue to be," consequently, “next to God's word, the richest source of wisdom, and the surest guide to all successful practical activity.Affect, therefore, as some may, to treat history with contempt, and to overrule at the bar of their own judgment, its solemn decisions, whenever convenient to do so, they cannot in reality despise its teachings, nor tear loose from its authority.' Those who imagine themselves to be most independent in this

* These remarks find strong corroboration in the fact, that in those theological institutions in which it is considered essential to orthodoxy to deny all real value and authority to Church History, it still is made to occupy a very important place in the course of study. VOL. II.--NO. II.

respect, are, generally, least so. Not unfrequently they are found seeking the aid of history to sustain them in their protest against history

It is in its relation to Christianity, however, that History most strongly challenges attention. Church History, in fact, may be said lo comprise all History. All the great movements of humanity, whether in reference to politics, to literature, to science, or to art, have had a powerful influence upon the Church, and at the same time, were themselves the direct, or indirect results, of the Church's life operating in those several directions. For Christianity is not an isolated principle working itself out to completion, in entire independence of, and indifference to all other spheres of action. It does not achieve its triumphs by a process of sheer demolition, leaving the world unchanged except in a merely outward way. It works as a living principle in the world, rather than upon it, destroying only that which is bad, carrying out to its fulfilment all that is good. No proper idea, consequently, can be obtained of any sphere of human activity, except from the stand-point of Christianily. The past, when regarded from any other position, seems to be full of confusion and obscurity,-a chaos of events without order or connection, apparently springing from inadequate causes, and productive of no proper results,-no clue appearing to guide the bewildered inquirer through its dark labyrinths, nor common principle to harmonize its conflicting activities, and bind together its successive periods. As the eddies of a great river to be properly understood, must be viewed in connection with the stream, which sweeps through the main channel, so the changes of society become plain in their origin, and end, only when considered in their relation to Christianity. This must ever necessarily be the case. Christianity is the most important fact in the history of the world,—the attainment, in a living way, of the truth which it embodies, the most important object to which the attention of man has been, or can be directed. Hence it has formed for him, consciously, or unconsciously, in all ages, and nations, the ultimate end of his most earnest strivings; and the deepest movements of the past have sprung from it as their source, or looked to it as their completion.

Nor is it, indeed, possible to arrive at any correct idea of the nature of the Christian religion itself, without a proper regard for its history. Christianity is not an abstract theory, nor yet a mechanical system of law, but a living fact. As such, it can be understood only by contemplating it as it has actually unfolded itself in history, and that too, in the history, not of one age, and nation, but of all ages, and nations. For it is a world-fact, ex. tending through the world, both as to time, and space. It is only under a general view, therefore, comprehending it in all its manifold relations, and different but consistent forms of action, that the nature of the Christian religion becomes truly and fully manifest. As little as a traveller can determine the course and character of an unexplored stream by the scene which a single point upon its banks presents, -as little as man himself can be understood, if studied with reference only to a single tribe and century,—so little can correct and enlarged views of Christianity be obtained, by confining our attention to the aspect, which it happens to present in some particular period and country.

At all times, then, the study of Church History is important, but it is especially so at present. On the one hand, Romanism, declaring itself alone to be the Holy Catholic Church, appeals to the past in vindication of its claims. On the other, Puseyism,-in respect to this point in full harmony with Puritanism,

—is striving to lead Protestantism back to the first centuries, leaping over the intervening chasm of fourteen hundred years, and disregarding the mighty results of the Scholastic Philosophy of the Middle Ages, and the Biblical Theology of the Reformation, as entirely without value. Episcopacy, Presbyterianism, and Congregationalism (the two latter, at the same time, professedly denying, with glaring inconsistency the authority of History,) with equal earnestness, and apparently with equal confidence of success, search the records of primitive ages, for a perfect portrait of their respective features. To History all parLies appeal in corroboration of their claims; and by History their claims must in great measure be decided.

If these remarks are true, the importance of possessing a correct idea of the nature of History must be obvious. For not more certainly will the beauty of a landscape be lost if looked at from an unfavorable point of view, than the truth of History will become distorted, if contemplated from a false position. Iis most prominent, and important facts, thrown into the shade, may seem of little consequence or even be completely bid behind the insignificant form of some trivial occurrence improperly thrust into the fore-ground ;—its magnificent vistas, resplendent with light when viewed from the proper point, may seem shrouded in darkness; and the influence of Christianity upon the world be made to appear as the blighting shadow of superstition, or the meteoric glare of fanaticism, rather than as the life-giving beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We all know this to be the case.

The infidel seeks in the store house of History for

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